Notre Dame, ranked No. 11, went into Wednesday's night home clash against No. 14 Illinois with an undefeated record and seeking a fourth win over a top 15 opponent but despite a great start in singles they'd be unable to hang on as Illinois came storming back from a 3-1 deficit to win 4-3. Illinois, which was playing just its second match of the season after getting an automatic berth into the National Indoors due to being the host, jumped out to the early 1-0 lead after claiming doubles wins at No. 1 and No. 2. Notre Dame came back in singles and won all six opening sets and would finish three out in straight sets with Alex Lebedev, Tristan McCormick, and Guillermo Cabrera winning at No. 1, No. 4, and No. 6.
Illinois managed to get splits on the other three courts and one by one they'd all fall the way of the Illini. Zeke Clark cut the deficit to 3-2 with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 win at No. 3 and Caleb Chakravarthi tied it at 3-3 with a 2-6, 6-4, 6-2 win at No. 5. The deciding match at No. 2 would be a back and forth affair with Illinois junior Aleks Kovacevic coming out on top over Notre Dame sophomore Richard Ciamarra 6-7, 6-2, 6-4. Ciamarra went up a break at 4-3 in the third but Kovacevic broke back, held, and broke again to close it out.
Former Virginia Tech Hokie Sebastien Jacques is making his way across the country, by foot, after not being able to walk across a room just a few years ago. Jacques played at Virginia Tech from 2007 to 2010 but during his senior year he had to quit playing due to a lack of energy. After graduating with a degree in marketing he returned home to Magog, Canada, and after seeing several doctor he was eventually diagnosed with a pineal cystic tumor in his brain which was the cause of the energy drain. The doctors in Canada determined the procedure was too risky and the health care system wouldn't cover the cost so Jacques ended up raising $80000 and had the surgery performed in California. The surgery was a success and Jacques returned to a normal life but he decided to embark on the cross-country walk to show people that it is possible to overcome obstacles in life. Virginia Tech had a write-up on Jacques a few days ago plus there are plenty of details on his website.
The NCAA Division II Men's Championship has reached the semifinals with #1 West Florida advancing after a 5-0 win over #4 Hawaii Pacific. UWF's top player, #4 Alex Peyrot, played doubles but sat out in singles which was interesting because in the round of 16 its #2 player, Gabriel Dias, did the same thing. Next up for UWF will be #23 Southwest Baptist after the Bearcats held off #16 Ferris State 5-4 with Raul Cabalero winning the deciding match 6-2, 4-6, 7-6(1) at #4 singles. The other semifinal match will be between #2 Barry and #3 Columbus State. Barry cruised past #18 Drury 5-1 with the Bucs taking two of three in doubles and winning every completed set in singles. Columbus State ran through #14 Azusa Pacific 5-1 with the Cougars sweeping all three doubles courts (count as a point each) and then getting two straight set wins at #3 and #4. APU got its lone point when Oliver Frank, D2s top ranked player, cruised to a 6-1, 6-3 win at #1.
Top seed Vanderbilt knocked off top ranked Florida 4-3 to win the SEC Championship in match that was played indoors at Vanderbilt. Florida played without Josie Kuhlman (#2 singles/#3 doubles) who was sick with a stomach illness but the Gators still rolled through the doubles point to take the early lead. Vandy's Astra Sharma tied the match with a win at No. 1 but Florida's Kourtney Keegan made it 2-1 with a win at No. 5. Vandy's Sydney Campbell pulled out a three set win at No. 2 to even the match at 2-2 but Florida's Anna Danilina put the Gators back in front with a three set win at No. 4. Vandy's Christina Rosca tied the match at 3-3 with a three set win at No. 3 so the final match to go on court in the five-court facility would decide the championship.
Vanderbilt sophomore Fernanda Contreras won the first nine games of the match to go in front of Florida senior Spencer Liang 6-0, 3-0 but Liang came back to take the next five to go up 5-3. Contreras broke Liang from 15/40 with a lob winner to make it 5-4 and then she hit a service winner on the no-ad point to hold for 5-5. Contreras would go on to win the next eight points to close it out 6-0, 7-5 to give Vanderbilt its second SEC Tournament Championship in school history.
A year ago Texas Tech won 28 matches and hosted a NCAA Regional but going into tonight's match against No. 4 Baylor the Red Raiders were winless in the Big 12 while having an overall record of just 10-14. Baylor was down a man with Jimmy Bendeck (#4 singles/#2 doubles) a late scratch so BU had to make adjustments to both its doubles and singles lineup. Texas Tech took advantage of the shift and picked up wins at No. 2 and No. 3 to take the early 1-0 lead. In singles play, Texas Tech would add five first sets and both Jolan Cailleau and Jackson Cobb would win in straight sets to make it 3-0. Baylor fought back to get splits at No. 3, No. 4, and No. 5 while Texas Tech got a split at No. 2.
Baylor's Johannes Schretter, Max Tchoutakian, and Will Little would each pull through to tie the match at 3-3. Texas Tech senior Carlos DiLaura led Baylor freshman Constantin Frantzen 4-1 in the third at No. 5 but Frantzen took the next two to pull within 4-3. DiLaura broke back for 5-3 but Frantzen broke and held for 5-5 and two games later it went to a tiebreak. DiLaura went up 4-0 in the tiebreak but Frantzen rallied to tie it at 6-6. Frantzen had match points at 7-6 and 8-7 but DiLaura pulled it out 10-8.
The 69th Blue Gray Tennis Classic came to an end on Saturday with the Rice men and Auburn women capturing titles by winning three matches in a 30-hour window. Rice started the day on Friday with a 4-0 win over Boise State and then Rice and Virginia Tech met in the semifinals with the doubles point played on Friday while singles was played Saturday morning. Rice only dropped two points in doubles and then the Owls won 9 of 11 sets in singles with David Warren clinching the 4-0 win. In Saturday afternoon's championship match, Rice took the doubles point with wins at No. 1 and No. 2 but then the teams split first sets in singles. South Carolina picked up straight set wins from Andrew Schafer and Alex Fennell while Rice's Tommy Bennett won in straight sets for Rice. With the match tied at 2-2 each of the remaining matches would be decided by few points late in the third set.
South Carolina's Yancy Dennis served for the match at No. 3 up 5-4 in the third but Rice's Jake Hansen broke back, held, and broke again to win 6-3, 4-6, 7-5 which put Rice ahead 3-2. Rice sophomore Eric Rutledge would clinch the match at No. 5 by breaking Thomas Mayronne's 4-4 third set service game and then serving the match out to take it 3-6, 6-2, 6-4. The match at No. 1 went unfinished with Rice's Jamie Malik leading 4-2 in the third set tiebreak after Malik had fought off two match points to force the tiebreak
It's not uncommon for a No. 2 seed to knock out a host during the Kick-Off Weekend but when the No. 2 seed is Utah State and the No. 1 is TCU the idea of Utah State pulling it off was something that few outside of Logan could have ever imagined. TCU, which finished last year ranked 57 spots higher than Utah State, came into the match riding a 31-match home court winning streak while Utah State was only participating in a Kick-Off Weekend regional for the second time in school history. The Aggies, led by first-year head coach James Wilson, got off to a slow start in doubles after TCU jumped out to early break leads at No. 1 and No. 2. TCU's Jerry Lopez and Reese Stalder only needed 20 minutes to win 6-0 at No. 1 but the other two courts would tighten up with Utah State breaking back at No. 2 while No. 3 also went back and forth. TCU's No. 2 team of Alex Rybakov and Guillermo Nunez retook the break at 5-3 and then Rybakov served it out to win 6-3 which gave TCU the doubles point and early 1-0 lead.
TCU and Texas both took one on the chin on Friday night but each rebounded nicely today by going on the road and defeating a quality opponent. TCU dropped a tough 4-2 match on Friday night at No. 13 Northwestern and today they were playing at the site of where their season ended a year ago - Tulsa. The Golden Hurricane were coming off an upset win over Texas so you had to figure it was going to be tough for them to play as well as they did on Friday.
TCU head coach David Roditi stuck with the same doubles pairings but he swapped his teams at No. 1 and No. 2 and both of those teams would be the ones to get wins. Guillermo Nunez and Alex Rybakov cruised to a 6-1 win at No. 2 while Reese Stalder and Jerry Lopez broke to take a 4-3 lead at No. 1 and would win 6-4. TCU didn't waste any time in singles and took five opening sets with Tulsa only able to take a set at No. 6. Cameron Norrie, Jerry Lopez, and Guillermo Nunez would each win in straight sets at No. 1, No. 3, and No. 4 with Norrie getting the clincher at No. 1.
The fall season came to a close on Sunday with Baylor, Oregon, North Texas, and Rice getting the strongest all-around performances from several of its players. See who won titles and see who came up short.
In Houston, Rice picked up its 1st win over a top 20 opponent since 2009 when the Owls stunned Northwestern 4-1. Rice took the doubles and then picked up singles wins from Srikar Alla, Max Andrews and David Warren at 1, 2, and 5. Northwestern's Logan Staggs won at #4 singles in a losing effort and Konrad Zieba made his season debut at #3 singles for the Cats and led when the match was halted.
"Srikar was the MVP of the match tonight," Ustundag said. "Right about the time when perhaps some of our early energy was running out, he gave us another boost."
FYI, the number beside the player's school is the player's Universal Tennis Rating as of March 25th. For more details about UTR check out their website.
FYI, the number beside the player's school is the player's Universal Tennis Rating as of March 26th. For more details about UTR check out their website.
Florida State recap
"Our depth really showed through today, winning at 4, 5, and 6, Crowell said. "We knew they were going to come in and be strong all the way through the lineup with two ranked players. They came in and did a great job, and I'm just glad we were able to close that match out at No. 6."
Auburn started off on the right foot by taking the doubles point but Florida was too strong at both the top and bottom of the lineup and pulled out a 4-1 win.
"You have to give Florida credit. They did not panic after doubles," Auburn head coach Eric Shore said. "We have to be better at the top of the lineup and we were not today. We need everybody playing well and we were not getting that. You are not going to beat a team like that if you are not ready and you are not battling."
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